A savory blue cheese cracker with hints of sweetness from morsels of dried apricots bits.
I knew there were different kinds of dried apricots, but never really gave it a great deal of thought...until a box showed up on my doorstep. I've not written about a specific product here in the past, but will do so when I run across a product that I think is really heads and shoulders above the rest. The dried apricots from Enduring Sun fit the bill.
You can see right off the bat the difference in colors between the types, and you can taste it too.
The Jelena are your meaty, straight shooters. They're apricots through and through; no subterfuge.
The Larissa is at the other end of the flavor continuum with a sweet floral taste that's just beautiful. These were my favorites for just eating straight from the bag.
Both the Natasha and Valentina have hints of lemon and orange, with the Valentina being a little more tart to my taste.
All are wonderfully bright, full of fresh flavor, and slightly sweeter than others I've tried over the last few years. And I should add that I wasn't requested to write anything about them, and am not being paid to do so.
I've experimented with them in baked goods, like this sable, and some scones that just came out of the oven. I've also pickled them with orange, rosemary, and sweet onions; and whipped into a compound butter. I'm still experimenting, and will be posting recipes for the ones that have worked the best!
For today, I'm starting my dried apricot series with Abby Dodge's #baketogether project for this month with these spicy sables. This month's project is her Spicy Parmesan Sables. Abby hosts a monthly opportunity for us all to bake a recipe of hers together. She starts it off at the start of each month by posting one of her recipes, along with photos and directions. Then she throws it out to us to come up with our own variations. If you're interested, plus go to her site and join in the fun.
Spicy Blue Cheese and Apricot Sables
- Place the flour, cheese, salt, cayenne, nutmeg and orange zest in a food processor and pulse briefly to combine. Add the butter and dried apricot pieces and pulse until the butter pieces are slightly larger than pea size, about 10 to 12 pulses, depending upon your processor. Drizzle the water evenly over the flour mixture. Pulse until the dough begins to form moist crumbs that just begin to clump together - about 8 or 9 pulses, depending on your processor.
- Dump the moist crumbs onto the unfloured counter and gather into a pile. With the heel of your hand, push and gently smear the crumbs away from you until they start to come together in a cohesive dough. Two or three smears should do the trick. Using a bench scraper, gather the dough together and turn it about 45 degrees, and give it one or two more smears with the heel of your hand. Gather the dough together and shape the dough into a rectangle using the bench scraper to make the sides straight. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until very firm, about 3 hours, or up to 2 days.
- Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 375˚F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a thin, sharp knife, cut the log into ¼-inch slices and arrange (they don't spread much at all) on the prepared sheets. Back until nutty brown around the edges, 16 to 18 minutes. If you like, sprinkt he crackers with a little kosher salt just as the baking sheet come out of the oven. Serve slightly warm, or at room temperature.
- The dough can be shaped and frozen for up to a month, and then thawed for about an hour on the counter or in the refrigerator overnight. Likewise, tuck the baked and cooled sables in a heavy-duty zip-lock bag and stash them in the freezer. Thaw at room temperature and warm them for a few minutes at 325˚F to refresh the flavors.